Praise and reward
In this session we looked at different methods of praise and the effects of rewards. When children receive positive praise, they are likely to repeat that behaviour. However, when they receive negative feedback they are not likely to repeat that behaviour.
Types of praise
a) Descriptive praise- this type of praise is to tell the child what we are praising them for. For example, “MashaAllah you have tidied up your room.” We can say “good boy/girl” provided that we tell them what they have done to receive that praise. Also private praise is more effective than public praise.
b) Summary praise- Summing up with one word praise. For example, “Excellent”, “Fantastic”
c) Self-praise-This method of praising is very powerful for children. This is basically to let them praise themselves. Get them to acknowledge their achievements. For example, when a child says “I did that really well”.
Common mistakes with praise
Some of the common mistakes done while praising is just saying “well done” without explaining the reason for that praise.
Also we need to make sure that the things we praise them for actually deserve praise. The age of the child also needs to be considered while praising. As parents we need to make sure we mean it when we praise because children can see through it. One thing a lot parents do is to mix praise with criticism. This is something which should be avoided. For example, “well done BUT you can do better.” Praise can also be done without words, e.g. smiles.
Praise – How to do it – 7 steps
1) We need to look at our child, use their name and make eye contact with them.
2- Move close to our child
3- Smile at them
4- Say a lot of nice things
5- Praise what we see, hear.
6- Show physical affection
7- Praise immediately.
It is also important that we look at the style of praising of the prophet (SAW). Praise reinforces good behaviour because good behaviour is part of good akhlaq.
In a hadith narrated by Jubair (RA) it is reported that the prophet (SAW) said:
“Whenever Muslims plant a tree, they will earn he reward of charity because of the food that comes from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beast eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it and what people take from it is charity for them” (Muslim)
This hadith encourages us to be dedicated, giving us a guarantee of reward from Allah. It also helps to create a generous society. It encourages us to be generous, caring and sharing. We should realise that we shouldn’t care about what happens to the tree because the reward is from Allah (SWT).
In another hadith Abu Darr (RA) reports that the prophet (SAW) said:
“Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face” (Muslim)
This hadith encourages us to behave in a positive manner. We should smile at people because this simple act will get us reward insha-Allah.
In conclusion we see that praising a child encourages good behaviour, and also it may increase their self-esteem. The anticipation of reward encourages generosity and dedication especially when the expectation of reward is from Allah (SWT).
And Allah knows best.